We’re back with TLF Scandal Chat, Episode 2, with the usual suspects, Viv, Lauriean, Laura and this week’s addition, Nia, a Scandal newcomer this season. Welcome, Nia!
Viv: It’s clear that with this episode, we’re spending more time filling in the flashbacks of Olivia’s life and her relationship with her dad. I didn’t mind it, but I was happy to learn more information about Rowan (or is it Eli?) Pope and his relationship with Olivia.
The Sunday dinners were fascinating for me. Rowan was trying to act like Cliff Huxtable, which makes me wonder how much he does care for Olivia. I feel like the docent is part of the true face, but he’s also a man who has lost patience with his wayward daughter. He still loves her and wants to protect her, but it’s like he’s sliding into the stern parent mode when she’s a grown ass woman. Which is a great way to piss people off, which leads to these icy-ass dinners.
Laura: Nerding out on the lethality of mastodon versus mammoth was gold. This show delivers on the tiny character asides. Those who do not get the glory are the more dangerous beasts, indeed (SUBTEXT.) I like to think he chose his cover identity based on his personal interests. We all play “road you didn’t take” but normal folks don’t get to order torture at noon and talk fossils at dinner (probably a good thing).
Nia: “The Mastodon is the far more dangerous beast.” So he acknowledges he’s double-oh-Cosby. Good. But this was kind of heavy handed. All the expression close-ups were belaboring the point. We all know he’s a bad guy, did we really need all this set-up?
Why is Daddy Pope such monster of Cthulhu proportions? What’s he so ever-loving angry about? Yes, his job is to protect the republic no matter the leader, but he was real up-close-and-personal with his castigation of Liv. Maybe he’s speaking from experience and fatherly protectiveness, but something else is happening there.
V: IA! IA! ROWAN FHTAGN! I liked it, but that’s because I’m expecting some crazy-ass soap opera stuff though. And crazy-ass soap stuff belabors the point with significant stares and heavy music.
Rowan is a parent navigating an estranged adult child — the urge to treat them like a child is really strong, but they’re also grown-ass adults. Most sane parent accept this and move on, but given that Olivia’s been shuttled off to boarding school, I wonder if Rowan’s stuck viewing his daughter as like a wayward teenager. He wants to reconnect, but given the family weirdness, she’s not having it.
N: Speaking of, I find their Sunday dinners really weirdly contrived, for a number of reasons. 1. They’re a flawed family trying to find their way again, via bribery. But! How old is Liv *now*? Five years ago she was hard-up enough and unsuccessful enough to take her apparently somewhat scorned daddy’s money to pay off loan debt, but at the same time close enough to the top to be coaching the soon-to-be president in a campaign? Whut?
And can I just say the whole, “I don’t have a taste for wine” weirdness threw me all the way out of Liv’s backstory. She spent her formative lady-years in various European boarding schools and was raised by Mr. Talented Tenth and an unseen Mrs. without developing an appreciation for wine by her early 30s? What? How? Does not compute. She’s a princess or she’s not, how do you play both sides of this fence? Especially in light of Cy’s kill file on her showing her to be a consummate D.C. party girl for a while. Trying too hard to make her relatable.
Bonus: she drove a Taurus. Five years from a Taurus to car service? No. Just…not how rich/powerful people work, seriously. I can see educated/boarding school/partyish girl in her 20s, but the Taurus/I don’t like wine thing seemed to be trying way too hard to make her a middle class girl made good. Doesn’t fit with the other backstory.
V: You know, I hadn’t thought of that until you brought it up. I admittedly called bullshit on the red wine thing, because red wine always seems like the kind of drink people have when they want to appear sophisticated, elegant and smart and if she was a party girl (like you said), she’d probably be educated on that aspect.
I suppose some of it could be hand waved away as Cyrus’ information in his kill file may not be that accurate (given that Daddy is Command, I wouldn’t blink at that), but you’re right. It just doesn’t ring right to me.
To be honest, I’d be OK if Olivia was a princess. It’s like a wish-fulfillment thing. She’s not every woman (lord knows that’s true with how she dresses in all white and doesn’t stain a damn thing) so I don’t feel the need to identify with her as me. Now if they wanted to say Rowan and mom worked their way up, that would make more sense.
Of course they could also be those hard-ass parents who didn’t give her a car, but helped her buy the Taurus.
LDD: Liv comes from an incredibly wealthy background. I didn’t think the “taste for wine” thing was because she’s unsophisticated, but because it was her way of rejecting Rowan, happens to be ridiculously bougie and overbearing. Same thing with the Taurus. Going a more “humble” route (no wine, driving a Taurus, befriending odd homeless people) could be her way of rejecting what she hates about Rowan.
N: Liv figured her dad and Huck out from a few rambled phrases, miraculously understanding Huck, and believing in the secret agency, AND being a smart lawyer and former power-party girl tied to a congressman, she thought she could walk up to daddy and read/manipulate him? Really? Really. You now know what the man you grew up with is capable of, and capable of hiding, and you’re going to bring in new pawns (Edison/Afro-Ken) and expect a pat on the head and to be able to waltz out? Whut.
V: Can I also say that to me, in this episode Olivia was out of control with the temper tantrums? “GIVE HUCK BACK TO ME! GET JAKE OUT OF THERE NOW!” It’s like she was dealing with someone who took her toys, as opposed to real people. Also, she was a little shit for dragging Edison into the whole mess (unwittingly on his part). That just seemed like a teenage girl trying piss off her dad. And is it just me or does Rowan not want Olivia dating ANYBODY?
LDD: Yeah, I didn’t understand the point of confronting Rowan when she found out who he really was. On top of that, bringing Edison to the mix then being shocked, SHOCKED, that the leader of a secret group of violent psycho super spies hurt him. Spectacularly bad judgement on Liv’s part, and to be honest I’m disappointed she was written that way. It was lazy and trite.
V: Dude’s got some issues. But that also matches Olivia, who has a problem with meddling with everyone’s lives without telling them what she did or is doing, which leads us to…
L: The Huck Hulk moment. Another man that can’t handle an imperfect Olivia. Okay, that’s not fair. Hulk only has Olivia. If she lies to him, he’s got nothing.
V: Here’s the thing — I get why he did it. It’s like the Chris Rock routine — “I don’t agree, but I understand…” The one person he’s trusted completely and believed was true to him the whole time is the daughter of the man who threw him into a hole and made him cut ties to his family. She never told him this (even though she knew) and basically engineered his release without telling him what deal she made. If she lied to him about that, what else has she lied about? And Huck deals in absolutes, make no mistake about that.
Which is one of those maddening things about Olivia. I really question whether or not she’s doing these things out of acts of kindness — she may feel like she is, but I also suspect she’s doing it to keep people in her back pocket. But that’s also why she’s such a good fixer, which brings us to the case of the week.
N: While I appreciate that Shonda wants to paint a morality tale (It’s 4:30! I should be at the White House discussing budget ideas! MY ideas! But I’m shopping and being accused of slut-try! I’m smart and going places, or would be were it not for SEXISM. Woe is me! Wait? Money? I’m in.) that seemed heavy-handed too. Then again, it does seem that easy to bring women down from power. So maybe she’s just a realist in this one sense.
But Fitz. Ugh, Fitz. He manages to ruin literally everything, every good idea someone else has to keep the free world or whatever safe and free, Fitz will slaughter on the altar of his ego with his wang-sword.
L: The mistresses increasingly lose agency in this one. Jeannine and Olivia get that one press conference of solidarity and then SCHTHUNK Presidential balls drop and SCHTHUNK goes broken body of Rebound Senator.
It’s a nice little parallel that Olivia and Jeannine, teetering on the brink of confession, are preempted. Don’t want to make a choice? Outsource it to your controlling President and Father!
V: “Presidential sized balls.” I feel like that would be marketed for like trucker balls — red white and blue with stars.
My guess is that they wanted to tie up the whole explosion of the scandal thing and do it as neatly as possible. The only thing that annoys me is that the clock has been reset in a way — Olivia still isn’t known as the president’s mistress and everything is back to normal basically. But I get the feeling they can’t run this play again and that may come up sooner than later.
And the whole fantasy life Olivia and Fitz were talking about?
LDD: I’d make jam for Tony Goldwyn.
V: Fitz and Olivia totally use fixing problems as foreplay. The whole fantasy parallel universe thing just makes me laugh because really, Olivia would fucking lose her mind. She is basically fueled on drama and crisis. And I suspect she’d make red wine jam with popcorn bits in it. It’d be terrible.
N: Am I the only one who wishes Jake would quietly disappear? He’s creepy, was betraying Liv even as he “protected” her, and not nearly enough reason has been shown for her dedication to him. Her gut, I guess, but, she should stop trusting that, for no other reason if not Fitz and Cy…he’s back with a double-cross, I’d wager. And again, a smelly, beaten, homeless-looking dude is escorted up to her front door in a doorman DC building? No. Expedient for TV, but NO. COME ON.
LDD: Jake stays. Just clean him up and make him bangable again please. We’ll sort the good/bad out later. Who am I kidding, even bloody and a mess he’s still hot to me. #yeahIsaidit. Srsly tho, keep in mind that the reason Jake got put in the hole was because he went against orders and helped Olivia. Knowing what she does of the hole, her father, and that Jake did save her, I can understand wanting to get him out.
As far as getting Jake, beaten and bloody, to her building. Well, being “both the hell and the high water” has it’s privileges.
But now that Jake’s back, and they planted the seed of him possibly being bad, is he gonna go toe-to-toe with Fitz over what’s in that folder? And possibly Olivia? Sweet jesus, SO much pearl clutching going on here.